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How to Build a DIY Pantry

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We’ve finished some pretty big projects in the year and half we’ve lived at this house, but this tutorial for how to build a DIY pantry might just be my favorite! It’s practical, affordable and I pretty much can’t stop standing in front of it giggling! The best part is, we finished it in just one weekend (and really it could have been done in one day)! Go build yourself a pantry… it is amazing!

DIY Pantry renovation

When I tell you that we started with a mess, I’m really not over-exaggerating that.

It was a disaster. One falling pile at a time.

pantry before diy remodel

Sometimes home renovation projects come about as the result of boredom or the desire for more design elements in your home. Sometimes they actually come about out of necessity.

But sometimes. Sometimes, home renovation projects come about as a way to bring family harmony and unity back into your home.

This pantry falls into the latter category.

There was lots of “where did you put the cutting board now??”

And “If I have to tell you one more time, the green bowl gets stacked inside the other bowls!”

And, yes, there was also some “Why did you buy more salad dressing?? We already have 14 bottles in the pantry if somebody would just keep them all in one spot!”

It was a wreck.

pantry before renovation

When we moved in last year, we immediately started on the living room renovation. That finished and we jumped to the mudroom renovation (be sure to check this out because it will show you how we ended up with this pantry doorway and what this space used to be!), which turned into the office and the bathroom and on and on.

Basically, the pantry was not a priority. So we shoved 2 plastic shelving units in here and called it good.

Except it wasn’t good. It wasn’t good at all and I was feeling frustrated almost nightly when someone would put clean dishes away where they didn’t belong.

So this past weekend, we completely emptied it. We weren’t just reorganizing. We were starting from scratch. Even the plastic shelves got removed and relocated down to the basement.

pantry before remodel

We ran to Lowe’s and purchased our supplies (right at $100 total!) and got to work.

Now obviously, our measurements were for our specific space, and most likely won’t work for any other house out there. So I’m not going to bother giving you the specific measurements, because you just need to work with the space you have.

I will give you the steps we used, the supplies we needed and some general guidance that you can easily apply to your own home. I’ll also give you the overall dimensions of our pantry, because sometimes when you’re planning your layout, it’s nice to get a visual of how large or small it might end up being.

How to Build a DIY Pantry

 

Supplies:

5  Pine Boards, 1″x 16″x 8′

6  2″x 2″x 8′ boards

1  1″ x 2″ x 8′ board

5 L-brackets

Nail gun

3″ screws

Level

Stud Finder

Router (optional)

Directions:

Determine the spacing that you want your shelves to be. I knew I didn’t my bottom shelf too close to the floor because of dust and dog hair. I bought these bins ahead of time and we based the height of the bottom shelf off of what would give us clearance for these bins.

For the spacing on the rest of the shelves, I just measured what my tallest items would be to make sure I had clearance (I’m looking at you Kitchenaid mixer). The middle shelf is significantly higher than the others, because I was deadset on having the cookie sheet dividers. That height was determined based on my tallest item that I wanted to stand up (my IKEA cutting board).

pantry DIY building shelves

Once you have your heights determined, make your pencil marks on the wall so you don’t have to measure them again! Then cut your 2″x 2″ into lengths to go along the back wall of the pantry. Using a level and a stud finder, screw them straight into the studs using the 3″ screws.

Cut your 2″ x 2″ board into 8″ sections for the side supports of your shelves. Make them level with the back supports and screw right into the studs.

Next it’s time to cut your shelves out of the 1″ x 16″ pine boards. We were able to cut a length to span the entire back of our pantry wall and the excess piece that was cut off was nearly the perfect fit for our side shelves on the one side.

how to build DIY pantry shelves

After we cut our shelves, we added a rounded edge to the fronts of ours using a router with a rounding bit. This is completely optional, but really gave it a finished look, and I highly recommend it.

Starting with your bottom shelf, place it on the back and side brackets and nail into those supports using your nail gun. Work your way up the pantry, securing each of the back shelves.

(side note: I know it looks like we’ve already added the wood brackets by this step, but I promise we didn’t add them till later. I just forgot to get pictures along the way, so I had my husband pretend to hold the nail gun at the end so I could show you exactly where we nailed from.)

how to build DIY pantry shelves with a nail gun

Then go back and add your side shelves by nailing them to the side support and back support.

pantry building corner shelves

To give them additional support on the front right corner, we added L-brackets underneath. On the very top shelf, we added it on top so it wouldn’t be as visible.

how to use L brackets to support corner shelves

To add extra support over the long-run, we built some DIY wooden brackets to support the center of the shelves. We used the 1″ x 2″ boards to build these. The measurements were different for each shelf depending on the height of it, but the top and side pieces are roughly 12″ each. (And of course, the one I took a picture of has the back piece that’s extra long. It’s fine. That really doesn’t affect anything, so don’t be too concerned with that length.)

DIY wood shelf brackets

Optional: We added dividers for cookie sheets, platters and my drying rack. We used a 1″ x 12″, cut to the exact height between the shelves. We nailed them in from the top and from the bottom using a nail gun. We spaced them 4.25″ apart. (P.S. I looooove them!!)

DIY Pantry remodel

Here is the breakdown of spacing we left between our shelves. The overall dimension of our finished pantry is 80.5″ x 31″.

how to build DIY wood pantry shelves with measurements

I honestly can’t even describe how nice this is to have a finished, organized pantry! It’s hard to believe that just 4 days ago, it looked like this:

pantry before diy renovation

and now I get to stare at this beauty!

DIY kitchen pantry remodel

I HIGHLY recommend adding in slots for cookie sheets and platters! It was such a pain before having to lift everything up to get that one platter that was always on the bottom. This is the stuff that dreams are made of!

DIY kitchen pantry pan divider

And it’s crazy to me that even though we went from 5 shelves before to 5 shelves now… we have SO much more room! Every single thing I took out went right back in, but there is so much extra room now! It’s amazing what a little organizing can do when it comes to space!

DIY kitchen pantry wire shelves

If you’re struggling with a disorganized pantry, be sure to pin this post so you can get to work the next time you have a free afternoon! It is well worth it!!

how to build a pantry with measurements

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20 DIY Pantry Ideas To Build Well Organized Kitchen Pantry

Monday 27th of July 2020

[…] Learn how to build a pantry on a cheap budget. If your pantry is like a big mess and you just want to reconfigure it for a new organized look, then you have got the hack here. Get here free instructions about how to build a pantry using 1x16x8′, 2x2x8′, and 1x2x8′. Use the smaller boards to build the shelf supports and use 1×16 to install pantry shelves. aturtleslifefor […]

Joy

Sunday 22nd of March 2020

looks nice. instead of a bracket on the one shelf could you have just centered the cookie sheet dividers and they would have provided support. also to the left of them you could add a narrower shelf between the existing ones. not even attached to wall. just on legs so that it could be removed. you would be able to use the height since it looks like mainly shorter items are stored there.

Natalie

Monday 27th of April 2020

Hi Joy! Those area great options if they work for the space in your pantry. For ours, I wanted the consistent look of brackets going straight down the middle of all the shelves. I also use that bracket to lean cookie sheets against so I still use that as an "opening" to store the sheets. We did discuss adding a smaller shelf to have two levels for canned goods but decided against it because we didn't want the extra weight. It's always an option down the road if I need more space!

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Jennifer Miller

Thursday 26th of July 2018

How deep is your pantry? The actual physical space on the floor? I'm wondering if this will work in my house. Thanks!

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